National News

Contentious New Britain mayoral race in the hands of voters

Posted November 7, 2017 4:44 p.m. EST

— A contentious race for mayor in New Britain is in the hands of voters on Tuesday.

Mayor Erin Stewart is seeking re-election for a third term.

She swept the city back in 2014 with a stunning Republican victory.

Her opponent, Democratic school board member Merrill Gay, slammed Stewart for her commitment to the office as speculation surrounding a potential run for governor grows.

He also put out an attack ad about the city's debt service. This, after Moody's lowered the city's bond rating on Monday from stable to negative.

Stewart said when she took office, the city was on the verge of bankruptcy and was operating in a $30 million deficit.

"That $30 million is a $15 million surplus," Stewart said. "We're not perfect, but we're on the right path to a sustainable future."

"She leads the city through the unstable budgeting with Governor Malloy and the legislature when they were infighting. She showed stable, consistent, leadership that a city like New Britain needs,: said James Whalen, who supports Mayor Stewart.

"I'm much more concerned about what our mayor has done with our local debt," Gay said. "She has refinanced the debt twice and essentially pushed payments that should have been made last year and the year before into the next three years."

"At the moment, we have had several tax increases which really affect the working class and homeowners and at the same tim, there's a lot of spending that could be cut back of our tax dollars," said Violet Sims, who supports Merrill Gay.

As far as a run for governor next year goes, Stewart has not publicly commented.

Stay with Channel 3 for continuing coverage of Election Day races.